The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) was established in 1977, to promote, advocate and achieve positive changes in the lives of Aboriginal children, young people, their families and their community premised on human rights, self determination, cultural respect and safety. It was established as an Aboriginal community controlled and operated service.
From the early 1970s, the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) became involved in child welfare and child protection cases, appearing in the Children's Court on behalf of Aboriginal children.
Mollie Dyer, herself the daughter of a member of the Stolen Generations, was a key figure in the establishment of VACCA. Dyer fostered 20 children from Aboriginal communities in Victoria, as well as having six of her own.
The Aboriginal Child Placement Agency (ACPA) which operated from the Aboriginal Legal Service at 173 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, was established in February 1976. Its first staff members were: Mollie Dyer (Program Director), Glenda Nicholls (Secretary) and Peter Rotumah (Field Officer).
In 1977, ACPA became a registered Co-operative Limited with the new name, the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency. Victoria was the first state to establish a community-controlled and operated 'child care' service. VACCA's first base was at 11 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.
Other Aboriginal children's services organisations were soon established in other states and territories. In the early 1980s, these organisations formulated the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle, and lobbied for it to be adopted into the policies, practices and laws relating to child protection in Australia.
These initiatives resulted in a marked decrease in the number of Aboriginal children in children's homes in Victoria by the late 1970s.
In May 1983, VACCA established two family group homes in Melbourne.
In 1993, VACCA received funding from ATSIC (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission) to establish the Link-Up Victoria Program, working with members of the Stolen Generations and their families.
VACCA moved to new premises at 34 Wurruk Avenue, Preston in 1994. In 2005, it moved again, to 139 Nicholson Street, East Brunswick. VACCA celebrated its 25 year anniversary in 2006.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Information about VACCA: Timeline of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency From The 1970's to Now!', Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, 2010, https://www.vacca.org/about-us/our-history/; Kovacic, Leonarda and Barbara Lemon, 'Dyer, Mollie (1927 - 1998)', in Australian Women's Register, 2005, http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE1246b.htm.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 5 February 2009, Last modified: 27 July 2015